This will not be a comprehensive review. As I indicated in my previous post, the movie was much better—kind of a Lord of the Flies meets Peter Pan in a maze. But that was because they changed the plot and characters immensely.
But first, a couple sentences so I can participate in Teaser Tuesday. That bookish meme asks us to randomly pick two sentences from our current read:
Using the same method of pushing each of Alby’s arms and legs up two or three feet at a time, Thomas slowly made his way up the stone wall. He climbed until he was right below the body, wrapped a vine around his own chest for support, then pushed Alby up as far as he could, limb by limb, and tied them off with ivy.
Instead of reviewing the plot, I will contend the characters in the book (not the movie) correspond to characters in Alice in Wonderland. Thomas is Alice, the main character who knows this strange world should not be this way and reproves the odd characters encountered. As a clever move, this equivalent of Alice is male and goes up to the strange place, instead of down a rabbit hole.
Gally, who has insane hatred for Thomas from the start, is the Mad Hatter. (I don’t know how many times he’s referred to as “insane” in the book.)
Chuck, the constantly cheerful young kid who is immediately friendly to Thomas and sometimes seems to appear out of nowhere is the Cheshire Cat.
Minho, one of the runners who is constantly nervous in the maze, to the point of abandoning Alby when he is wounded, is the White Rabbit.
Teresa, the girl who gives Thomas cryptic information, is the caterpillar.
Alby and Newt, the two leaders, don’t have much in the way of distinct personalities. They could be Tweedledee and Tweedledum, but that is much less solid.
Keep in mind, I’m saying the characters correspond to Alice in Wonderland, not the plot. The plot is obviously much different. For those of you who have read the book, do you agree? Disagree?
Using archetypal characters in new fiction happens all the time. For a much stronger example, remember the movie Inception, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page running around through different levels of reality? For my analysis of how those characters are from Alice in Wonderland, see my review of Inception.
When I told an English and literature teacher that these characters that Lewis Carroll used are archetypes that occur over and over, she asked me where Lewis Carroll got them from. I shrugged.